100 Bicycles Contributed by Hero Cycles at a Rally to Promote Clean Air, Better Health
In its drive to promote healthy living and to collaborate with the government in this endeavour, Hero Cycles gave away 50 women’s and 50 men’s roadster bicycles. This was to support a rally that saw the 100-strong team ride from Bikaner to Jodhpur, a distance of about 250 km. The rally was flagged off Shri Arjun Meghwal, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Government of India.
In his address to the gathering, Shri Arjun Meghwal said: “It is commendable that you have all undertaken this historic ride to prove to the state of Rajasthan, in fact to the whole country, that the bicycle is truly the best form of transport. It is the cleanest-energy vehicle that will help reduce our per capita energy consumption and vehicular emissions. In a country that is now the third-most obese in the world and is known as the diabetes capital, bicycling will tackle many lifestyle diseases. We are grateful for Hero Cycles’ participation and their involvement in advocating for cleaner air and better health. We will definitely look into their request for putting the lowest GST slab of 5% on basic bicycles, so that the number of cycles bought and used goes up.” As of now, the de-growing bicycle industry is sustainability and employment challenges, in addition to adding to the disease burden of India. There is today, declining urban, owing to unsupportive cycling infrastructure; and stagnating rural demand, due to the rising prices and hence the unaffordability factor. The bicycle industry has been working with the government to promote riding as an eco-friendly, convenient transportation system. “We are delighted that the government has shown through this rally its commitment to the value of sustainable, active transport. Bicycles rid the environment of particulate pollution as well as noise pollution; they have fitness and health benefits; and they aid in decongestion of our cities. A bicycle takes up just 1/10 the space of a car, so it avoids traffic chaos. If utilized by all, it will free up roads and parking spaces so we get more space in our already overcrowded cities and towns. We urge the government to put in place the lowest GST of 5% on bicycles, to bring down cost and encourage more and more people to take to their use. This will not only increase demand, but also improve tax collection,” said Shri Pankaj Munjal, CMD,, Hero Cycles. India’s bicycle ownership stands at 11 crores, with majority of these being used by people in the lower income groups for commuting. In addition, the entire industry employs a 1 million workforce. The industry, with Hero Cycles taking the lead, looks forward to using the bicycle as a tool for empowerment of the girl child. With this mobility young girls can travel to their schools and colleges with ease and speed.